Holiday make over: Dealing with the outside

Christmas outdoor light displays are always an amazing spectacle in Cayman, illuminating houses and gardens in a magical light. What you don’t want however, is your lights display showing up a less that pristine house exterior and a weed-strewn garden. Even if you are not going big on the Christmas lights, the holiday season is a time for visitors and first impressions count, so this is a good time to take a hard look at the exterior of your house and garden and sort out   what needs to be done to make everything ship shape.

Painting  exterior walls

The first step is to take a good look at the outside walls, doors and windows, then make a list of what needs to be  repaired and what needs to be painted.

Do not take any shortcuts and think I’ll just slap some paint on the dingy bits!

As with any painting job, preparation is the key. Before you begin painting the exterior walls check for any rough patches or peeling paint and sand it down to make the surface smooth before applying the paint. If there is any damage, on the exterior wall repair that first. Before you begin painting, remember to protect anything such as furniture, window, grills and plants from the paint.

If you are painting window frames, apply either masking tape or special glass tape, which is easier to remove.

However painting an exterior is a big job, whatever the size of your house, and in this case it might be more advisable to call in the professionals.

The garden or yard
Turning the spotlight on the garden: make sure there is no litter lying around and sweep and weed where you can. Tidy up overhanging branches and unruly shrubs and trees. If your driveway has oil spills or any kind of nasty marks, think about  giving it a power wash. If it has tiled or pebble paving, make sure it is free of dirt and weeds in cracks. It might be a good idea to get it resealed to prevent stains or dirt reforming. If you are entertaining there is a good chance that you will be outside, so patios and decking also need attention.

The patio
Look at a patio in the same way you would a room and write a list of what needs to be done.

Patio rails and fixtures gather a lot of dust so these must be properly washed and dried.

Walls by the patio can get surprisingly dirty and will also need a wash down.

To make patio floor tiles look their best, give them a good scrub using a power wash or floor scrubbing machine.

Wooden decks should be cleaned using the appropriate wood cleaners.

Patio furniture
If the patio furniture is fabric, this should be properly cleaned.

Use the tags to follow the manufacturer’s guidance on cleaning as using just water and soap can leave water marks

Remember too that trying to dry the furniture in direct sunlight will leave brown water marks. Foam is always the best cleaning agent as this does not saturate the fabric.

Plastic or non fabric furniture can be easily wiped with soap and water but must be buffed with a dry cloth to avoid water marks.